Online gambling sites recovering from US payment bans

The online gaming industry has been reshaping itself since the US government introduced the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act [UIGEA], but it is beginning to recover, according to the chief executive of Search Focus, provider of the leading gambling information website

“Clearly many online gambling sites were hit hard by the US action, but the major sites have been focussing on cutting costs and refocussing on the rest of the world,” Tim Rosenberg said.

And like most of the industry’s well-resourced online gambling sites,, which is a sophisticated vertical search engine and information portal rather than a direct gaming site, has targeted non-US international growth.

“Our vision for is to encompass all an online customer’s gambling requirements in the most informative and efficient way possible – whether they’re searching for online casinos, the latest sporting odds, where to find a book on gambling or hotels in Las Vegas… will help them find exactly what they’re looking for”, he said.

Mr Rosenberg said Search Focus had recently taken on extra staff to drive’s expansion through marketing, further refining the site’s targeted search capabilities and ensuring that it maximises its presence in the global market. This will include the delivery of local language listings, with the launch of French and Spanish in the very near future, to be followed by others in due course.

It has also moved quickly to develop new functionality for the international search engine that allows advertisers to exclude US visitors from viewing their listings.

“We wanted to ensure that those advertisers who did not want target US visitors could still easily market to players across the rest of the world.” he said.

International focus

“Everyone in the industry recognises the potential of online gambling internationally. In Europe alone, there are more than 3.5 million online gamblers each betting an average of over $1500 a year.

“And there is huge potential in Asia, especially China, where there are 135 million internet users in a country renowned for its fondness for gambling,” Mr Rosenberg said.

China is also the world’s largest mobile phone market with over 400 million subscribers, many of whom will switch to the high-speed 3G networks over the next few years. That will create further potential for online gambling, he said.

As the leading vertical search site for gambling, Search Focus will keep innovating to serve these developing markets.

By John Tilston
Financial Journalist.